Sights in the Castello neighborhood

Note that the dividing line between the Castello and San Marco sestieri actually runs right through the Bridge of Sighs connecting the Palazzo Ducale with its prisons so, technically speaking, the Doge's Palace is actually in both neighborhoods simultaneously (though the actual entrance is in San Marco)—which also puts all the Piazza San Marco sights (including St. Marks Cathedral) mere steps away.

The Palazzo Ducale in VeniceDoge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) ★★★ - The sumptuously decorated seat of Venetian power for 900 years, the Ducal Palace ostentatiously displays the wealth of this formerly mighty maritime republic with grand rooms saddled in Renaissance masterpieces (by Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, etc.)—and the famous Bridge of Sighs over to the state prisons—but the best way to see it—and unlock its history—is to take the Secret Itineraries tour of the hidden hallways, secret chambers, and prison cells (from which Casanova famously escaped) that lie secreted behind the walls and gilded frippery... » more
The church of San Giorgio Maggiore in VeniceSan Giorgio Maggiore - Nearly every visitor to Venice snap a picture of it, yet barely a handful ever board the vaporetto to visit this Palladio-designed church on its own little island in the Bacino San Marco, where the Grand Canal empties out in front of Piazza San Marco. This is a shame, since they're missing a Venetian architectural glory decorated with works by Tintoretto, Carpaccio, and Jacopo Bassano—plus spectacular views from the bell tower... » more
Giardini Napoleonici, VeneziaGiardini Pubblici - Also known as the Giardini Napoelonici or Giardini Biennale (since they sometimes host Biennale art and sculpture exhibits), the largest patch of green space in Venice consists of formal public gardens way out near the far end of the Castello neighborhood, past the Arsenale... » more
The entrance to the Arsenale in VeniceThe Arsenale - These Renaissance-era shipyards are still in use by the Italian Navy, but they are much more famous as the sight of the ★★★ Venice Biennale, the world's greatest international exhibition of contemporary art, in which up to 80 countries exhibit works by their best living artists in every odd-numbered year (2011, 2013, etc.)... » more

Tips & links

Castello walks & tours
Castello lodging

Hotels in Castello
RR Hotel Danieli [splurge]
RR Hotel Metropole [premier]
RR Hotel La Residenza [cheap]
RR Foresteria Valdese [super-cheap]
RR Hotel Caneva [super-cheap]

» more

» More hotels in Castello from

Castello dining

Where to eat in Castello
★★ Ristorante Corte Sconta [meal]
Trattoria Da Remigio [meal]
Trattoria/Pizzeria Da Aciughta [meal]

About the star ratings

I have rated every sight and experience in Venice from zero to three stars.

Three stars, two stars, etc. are fairly self-explanatory—but note that it's not that the "no-star sights" are not worth the bother.

In fact, in any other city they'd probably rank much higher. They're just cursed to be in Venice, competing for your precious vacation time alongside St. Mark's Basilica, the Accademia Gallery, and a gondola ride—all solid three-stars.

This is a purely subjective rating, but it will help you get a sense of which sights pack the highest wow factor—and where to spend your time. In fact, you could view the starts thusly:

  • Anything rated three stars you should try to see even if you only have one day in Venice.
  • With two days, you can try to pack in as many two-starred sights as well.
  • With three or four days, you'll have time to fit in some one-star sights around the edges of your sightseeing schedule.
  • If you're lucky enough to be in town for more than four days, you might take the time to visit some of the no-starred sights.
How to find the Venice sights that will interest you

There are several ways helps you browse the sights of Venice, each neatly tucked into its own box below. You can get quick lists of all the top sights—the ones no one wants to miss when they visit Venice—or of all the attractions that are free of charge.

Or you can check out Reid's List, a thoroughly subjective compendium of some of my favorite, slightly less famous sights and experiences.

If you prefer thematic categories, you can see all the major museums or churches or palazzi at once, or if you're looking for something else to see or do nearby a major sight, you can peruse everything by neighborhood.

If you like to leave the planning of the daily itinerary to others, you can also sign up for a guided tour or two.

Or, if you want help cramming as much of it all as possible into your visit, you can peruse our perfect itineraries for one, two, or three days in Venice.

The top half-dozen or so sights listed under each category above are just a sampling. If you want to read short, one-line reviews of all sights within a category, click on the category title (or you can click on an individual sight for a quick link to its full description).

Tours, walks, & activities
How long does it take to see Venice?

Planning your day: You could spend an afternoon in Venice, a day or two, or a week and never run out of things to do and new corners to discover.

I would try to give Venice at least a day and a half. Three days would be better, but most people don't have that kind of time, even for Venice.

I have suggestions for how to spend anywhere from half a day in Venice up to three full days on the Venice itineraries pages.

Venice is a city that, at first glance, seems excessively touristy and overrun. Some visitors can't wait to move on to someplace that feels a bit less like a canal-rodden Disneyland.

However, given time (and purposefully getting lost once or twice), Venice reveals its serenissima side and begins to seduce even the most jaded of travelers.

Venice itineraries

Venice sightseeing passes

There are several cumulative ticket museum passes and discounts for pre-booking Venice:

  • Museum Pass ★★ (covering 11 civic museums and sights)
  • Chorus Pass (covering 16 major churches)
  • Venice Connected (a pre-booking service for sights and services offering minor discounts)
Venice links & resources

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Stay & dine in Castello
Where to eat in Castello
★★ Ristorante Corte Sconta [meal]
Trattoria Da Remigio [meal]
Trattoria/Pizzeria Da Aciughta [meal]

Hotels in Castello
RR Hotel Danieli [splurge]
RR Hotel Metropole [premier]
RR Hotel La Residenza [cheap]
RR Foresteria Valdese [super-cheap]
RR Hotel Caneva [super-cheap]

» More hotels in Castello from

Useful links
Train tix

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